This year, my goal is to spend more time with my family during the Advent season.
Of course, we spend plenty of time together during the day. I am with my children everyday!
My goal is to spend quality, more meaningful time together.
During the Advent season, we will continue on with our basic school lessons...math, reading, and writing. The other subjects will be put on hold, so that we can learn more about Advent and prepare for the coming birth of Jesus.
I have a notebook divided up into each day of the Advent season. On each day, I have a activity planned to do with the children.
We will do a short lesson about Advent, a Saint, symbols of Advent and Christmas, etc.
I have a crafts, art projects, religious themed food recipes, and lap books planned. I have picked out stories about the Saints, the Nativity, and other Catholic stories to read during this wonderful season.
We will light our Advent wreath daily. We will read the Bible together everyday and place our Jesse Tree ornament onto our Jesse tree.
So how are we unplugging...
Limit our outside time!
I don't mean physical outside time, but all the hustle and bustle of the "Christmas" season that takes place during this time. We will limit our errands. We will not accept as many invitations to outings. I want us to grow closer as a family and appreciate what we have.
Unplug from the Internet, video games, and TV!
I spend more time on the computer than the kids, between finding lesson plan ideas and social media. My goal is to spend time reading together as a family or just playing a board game.
Dear Friend, How are you? I just had to send a note to tell you how much I care about you. I saw you yesterday as you were talking with your friends. I waited all day hoping you would want to talk to me too. I gave you a sunset to close your day and a cool breeze to rest you---- I waited. You never came. It hurt me----but I still love you becasue I am your friend. I saw you sleeping last night and longed to touch your brow so I spilled moonlight upon your face. Again I waited, wanting to rush down so we could talk. I have so many gifts for you! You awoke and rushed off to work. My tears were in the rain. If only you would listen to me! Ilove you! I try to tell you in the blue skies and in the quiet green grass. I whisper it in leaves on trees and breathe it in colors of flowers, shout it to you in mountain streams, give the bird love songs to sing. I clothe you with warm sunshine and perfume the air with nature scents. My love for you is deeper than the ocean, and bigger than the biggest need in your heart! Ask me! Talk with me! Please don't forget me. I have so much to share with you. I won't hassle you any further. It is YOUR decision. I have chosen you and I will wait....because I love you. Your Friend, Jesus
When my grandmother passed away 24 years ago, this poem was found in her belongings. I have kept it in my personal collection ever since. It always makes me stop and think. We claim we are too busy for church and prayer. It's sad how we have time for other "more important" things, but the one thing that could get us into Heaven we put off.
When we stand before God, do we want to tell Him we were too busy for Him?
Recently, Princess P and I made Paleo Thin Mints inspired by the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. I found the recipe over at Elana's Pantry. If you have never checked out her site, stop by and see all the amazing food she has created! She has a wonderful selection of Paleo and Gluten free recipes. Everyone we have tried has been yummy!
1 cup blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon coconut flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 baking soda
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon mint extract (original recipe called for peppermint, but we had mint in the house)
1 package of dark chocolate chips
1/ teaspoon mint extract
In a food processor, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
Pulse the butter, honey, and mint extract until a dough ball forms.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, about 1/8 inch thick.
Freeze dough for 15 minutes. Remove from freezer and cut out cookie shapes. Use a small cookie cutter, about 2 inches for best results.
Transfer the cookies to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 4 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove cookies and cool completely.
Place cookies into the freezer for about 1 hour. Remove from freezer to dip in chocolate!
Melt chocolate chips and mint extract in a small sauce pan over low heat. It doesn't take long to melt the chocolate.
Dip each cookie into the chocolate. Place cookie onto parchment paper and freeze for another hour.
Serve and Enjoy!
Store cookies in the fridge for a crispy cookie!
I love saving money. I think we all enjoy saving money.
Last week, while we were out running errands we stopped at a local thrift store. It's not one we get to often since it's not in a central location.
We went searching for a book Lego Man has been wanting. We didn't find the book, but we did find some beautiful manger pieces. Each set was missing 1 piece, but I know if we keep our eyes open we will be able to find the pieces we need.
Manger Set 1
This set is older and stamped made in Italy on the bottom.
I have a feeling this is going to be a big part of my life for awhile. Maddie, or jaws as I call her, eats everything. Stuff animals, Lego's, doll clothes, cat toys, pencils, markers, pens, furniture, shoes, and more shoes! I honestly think she thinks her name is No, No. I have been catching up on laundry again. I get it all caught up, slack a few days, and fall behind again. You would seriously think I would learn not to slack off a few days. It doesn't help that the puppy likes to use the potty on our small area rugs.
I have started to plan lessons and projects to do to celebrate the Advent season.
I actually have taken a notebook and assigned a page to each day. I have finding fun activities to do each day. My plan is to write down what we will do each day that way I don't forget or lose my ideas. I am trying to have things planned out a little better this year. I used to be very good at that, but the past 2 years I have not been on top of things like that. I need to dig out our Jesse Tree, so we have it ready for Sunday, December 1st.
In our homeschool this week....just plain, old school. Reading, Math, English, History, Science, etc. Nothing too exciting this week. We have been too busy with the new furry member of the family. We did head to the library to check our books for our new state study~ Maryland. I still need to get Massachusetts posted. In history, we have started talking about the Vikings. While researching online, I have find so many fun projects to do. I can't wait to do them with the kids and share them! I am still waiting for All About Spelling to come in for Princess P. It is supposed to be in this Saturday. My goal is to start it on December 2.
What I am Reading....nothing at the moment. I have too many projects to get done between now and Christmas.
What I am working on.... Christmas presents and Ideas for Christmas presents!
I am currently knitting a scarf for a friend for Christmas. I still need to finish the tree skirt for the Christmas tree and the stockings for the fire place. I am also looking at fabric I have an planning on the skirts I want to make. My goal is start sewing and selling skirts for little girls in January. I may even start with doing ladies, if the girls skirts do well. I am looking into setting up an Etsy shop. Once I get it going I have links to it on this blog. I am planning on having a giveaway to start when I get it up and running.
Please keep me in your prayers as I start this huge journey.
What the kids are reading.....Lego Man is reading a Despicable Me book(based on the movie) that Grandma sent him. Princess P is finishing up the American Girl Molly book.
What Princess P is working on....learning to cross stitch. We found a beautiful flower pattern for her to do. The fabric comes with the pattern already imprinted on it. She has 6 squares to do and when she is finished, she can make them into a 6 block lap quilt. So later on she will learn how to quilt to. She is so excited and is loving it!
What I am praying for....my grandfather. He has good days and bad days, which we understand at this stage of his life. I pray he starts to feel better soon. If God chooses not to heal him, that is fine too. I just pray God takes him peacefully. He has lived a long, full life. I know my grandmother is waiting for him in Heaven.I have started talking to the kids about death and how great-grandaddy's time is short. They wish he could get better, but know that Heaven is where our real life is.
Well it might not be pretty. The flowers on the plate are. This apple-pecan cake sure is yummy!
I made it to go along with our state study we have been doing. If you would like to try it, you can find the recipe here.
Lego Man celebrated his 10th birthday.
We had homemade pizza and a homemade buttercream frosting cake.
He also had crab legs, something he loves!
He will get to celebrate with friends in a few weeks. We don't usually do parties with friends, but since you only turn 10 once we thought it would be a wonderful way for Lego Man to remember his day. He has picked a hunting theme for his cake and party.
Cats and Dogs
Our house has been a little crazy.
Cats hiding, running, hissing, smacking, growling, and flying through the air trying.
Lets just say, our three feline pets are not 100% thrilled with the new addition.
Thankfully after a few days of hiding, the cats are making an appearance and seem to be taking a stand. They are sleeping in their favorite spots again and are starting to get a little curious about our new family member.
They are even chasing the dog around the living room.
They just get a little nervous when she gets too hyper.
In a few weeks, they will settle down. Hopefully they will become the best of friends or at the very least they will learn to tolerate each other.
Puppies are lot of work.
God must have made them supre cute, so you would forget about the rotten stuff they do.
It's amazing me how quickly we forget all the training it takes! We have been busy with teaching Maddie....
not to bite~ puppy teeth hurt!
not to chew shoes, toys, hair bows, furniture, basically anything that is not a dog toy
to not jump
not to chase the cats and the chickens
and of course not to use the potty in the house
I left the kitchen to go feed the chickens and I come back to this...
She had been busy chewing through the cord for my phone.
She was so proud of herself. She came running with it in her mouth. It was like she was saying, "look at what I can do."
She had her first check up at the vet yesterday. She is growing well and looks great according to the doctor. While we were there, we picked up the ashes of our late dog. The kids were happy to have him back. He is on a shelf sitting next to our other dog that passed away 6 years ago.
It's been two weeks since we lost our buddy. A few days ago, I thought I heard his bark and I swear I saw him walking around in the yard. It's amazing how our mind will play tricks on us. The kids are doing better. They still miss him and would love to have him back, especially when the puppy is biting a little too hard.
To go along with our Connecticut State study, we created to recipes inspired by the state.
The first recipe we made was a delicious cake perfect for the fall. I found the original recipe over at Taste of Home. I slightly modified it to fit our needs. It turned out amazing!
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups tart apple, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cake Filling Ingredients
1 package(8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tablespoons of milk, I used 1%
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl combine the ingredients to make the filling. Beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until it's smooth. Beat in 1 egg and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine 1 3/4 cup sugar and butter until creamy. Add the 3 eggs and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl combine, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Gradually add the butter/sugar mixture. Mix well. Fold in apples and pecans.
5. Pour half of the apple batter into a greased and floured fluted pan, layer the cream cheese mixture, and top with the remaining apple batter.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and then carefully remove from pan.
7. To make the frosting, combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for about a 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Drizzle over cake and sprinkle with pecans.
In my life this week....a new puppy to heal the pain of a lost friend. We have been busy training this sweet little girl.
Lego Man turned 10!! Where have 10 years gone. It seems like yesterday that I held that sweet baby in my arms singing him to sleep. Time goes by way too quick. We had pizza for dinner and a homemade yellow cake with butter cream frosting for dessert. He will be having a party to celebrate the big 10 in a few weeks. He is so excited to be celebrating with his friends!
In our school this week....playing catch up. After last weeks tragic event, we are a few days behind in our school work. So we headed back to the daily grind. I ordered All About Spelling to see if it will help Princess P with her spelling. She has been struggling with it, so I wanted to find program that might help her out. We have finally finished up our Massachusetts state study! This past month has been so hectic that our state study has been forgotten about.
What I am reading.... Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
What the kids are reading at bedtime...... Lego Man has started the 2nd book in the series Guardians of Ga'Hoole The Journey
Princess P is reading the American Girl Molly books. She is reading these all by herself. I am so proud of how much her reading has improved this past year!
What we have been working on.....we are almost done with our thorough cleaning of the house. We have cleaned ceiling fans, baseboards, pulled furniture out to clean behind it, etc. My goal is to leave no stone unturned in this house. Next week, we move to the basement...ugh. We really had to organize things that way the puppy didn't eat everything...which is is set on doing. This will take all week. I really want to get it organized , so that I can set up my sewing machine and start sewing. my goal is to start making little girl skirts and dresses. I definitely post about when I get my "shop" going!
On our little homestead.... the pig is finally gone. The slaughter house called and said she weighed a whopping 372 pounds! No wonder she scared me to death when she chased us. Two of the girls are still molting. Those two girls look so pathetic.
The others are done. We are getting about 2-3 eggs a day now.
What I am praying for....my grandfather.
My granddaddy with Princess P
Hospice has been called in and they are saying 6 months or less. He's 92, so we know the time is near for him to return home to Heaven. I think he is ready. He is wheelchair bound now and on oxygen. I know he doesn't want to live that way. It's been 24 years since my grandma passed and I know she is waiting for him. I think I am slowly coming to peace with the fact that his time here on earth is almost done. It will be hard when he dies, but I know he will be happy in Heaven.
A few weekends ago, we had a wonderfully warm Saturday. We decided to spend the day as a family enjoying the fall beauty God had given us. We loaded ourselves up in the car and headed to a state park not too far from our house.
We stopped at a local deli/restaurant for a picnic lunch and some apple cider doughnuts that were fresh from the oven.
This restaurant was hopping. I think we waited 30 minutes just to place our order. There were people everywhere. The service was quick though. I think we only waited about 15 minutes for our homemade lunches.
Once the lunches were loaded into the car, we headed to the park. We found a wonderful spot, with a picnic table, right along the water.
After our lunch and a walk along the bank of the river, we decided to check out the visitors center. It was a beautiful wooden building that fit in perfectly with the surroundings. Of course, I didn't take a picture of it.
The visitor center had a learning area with a display of the natural wildlife that could be found in our area.
A red fox
Falcons, owls, woodpeckers....we have seen all of these beautiful creatures in our own backyard
Princess P reading about different textures of bark.
A brown bear.
A mountain lion
An indoor waterfall to help create this fantastic display of God's creatures.
After leaving the visitor center, we picked a trail to walk. It was a great day to go for a hike.
Not too hot and not too cold.
I so want to live this in this little valley!
I just loved how the light was shinning through the clouds in this picture. It was more amazing in person.
We finished up our hike together as a family and started to head for home. Along the way, my husband saw a sign for a covered bridge. We detoured off the path and went to see it.
I love the look of a covered bridge. It reminds me of days gone past.
For the past few weeks, we have been studying about the earth. The kids have learned about the different layers of the earth, mountains, and now we are studying the different types of rocks.
We headed to our local arboretum for a wonderful field trip/class on rocks. It was really cold that day, but the kids were very excited for their class.
We were met by one of the staff members and headed into a warm room.
"Ms. Emily" talked to the students about rocks and had them create their own sedimentary rock.
Each child was given three colors of play dough. They rolled each color into a ball and then flattened them out with their hands.
They looked like colored pancakes.
They layered each color onto the other and pressed down forming a bond. They then squished the play dough into different shapes to present mountains. This was explained to the children as the plate tectonics moving. The mountains we live on were formed this way many years ago.
The children were given a piece of fishing wire to use to scrape off area of the play dough. This was to represent the effects of the wind, rain, snow, etc.
This is best known as erosion!
After our fun project, we bundled up and headed outdoors to look for rocks.
We can find shale in many places in our area. It was used years ago to build houses, chimneys, and fences.
We have used it to form our flower garden beds. When you live in the mountains, you have plenty of rocks to chose from.
This is shale that has areas that are slowly being eroded away by the environment.
After being chilled to the bone, we headed back indoors for a fun0-filled activity that taught the students about various types of rocks.
Ms. Emily had 5 tables set up. On each table were 3-6 different types of rocks and 3 sheets with questions.
The children were to read each question and figure out which rock it was referring to.
There were examples of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. There were minerals like talc, salt (yes, the kids tested it), and quartz. There was even a sample of fools gold!
A pumice stone that they kids were able to test and see it float!
Geodes broken up to reveal the crystals inside.
The children had a wonderful time and learned plenty about rocks!